Aaron Connolly

VAR awards late penalty as Brighton tops Everton

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VAR awarded a penalty for the first time in Premier League play as Brighton and Hove Albion twice struck late to defeat Everton 3-2 in a back-and-forth affair at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

The referee hadn’t spotted Michael Keane‘s foul against Aaron Connolly but the eye in the sky did, and Neal Maupay finished from the spot. Then Lucas Digne couldn’t prod a stoppage time cross over his goal, recording an own goal with Glenn Murray lurking behind him.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pascal Gross also scored Brighton’s first PL free kick goal in a game of firsts, as the Seagulls leapfrog Everton and move 12th with 12 points.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and a Richarlison-inspired own goal accounted for the Toffees’ offense, as Everton again failed to build league momentum and sits 16th with 10 points.


Three things we learned

1. Gross, point blank: We pointed out in the club power rankings that Pascal Gross is top five in big chances created and key passes despite Brighton’s status as a relegation scrapper. The German playmaker was given a chance by an Andre Gomes foul, and buried his free kick. Jordan Pickford should’ve done better but that doesn’t make the strike any less easy on the eyes. Brilliant, deserved stuff.

2. VAR does its job: The commentary team on the broadcast laid out the reasons to award a penalty to Brighton in a way the referee clearly couldn’t explain to Everton’s players. Michael Keane fouled Aaron Connolly in the box, and replays showed how difficult it would be to spot the foul from field level. Moments after Brighton went down, it was level through Maupay.

3. Everton’s inconsistent season continues with more bad Fortune: Don’t get us wrong — The Toffees bear the brunt of the blame for the loss, but had the better of the play. That means absolutely nothing when there are four big mistakes contributing to three conceded goals. Andre Gomes committed a needless foul and Jordan Pickford flubbed his chance to stop a free kick goal, then VAR awarded a penalty for a Keane foul, and Digne had no choice but to try and improbable clearance than turned into an own goal since poached Murray was running free behind him. A solid team goal from Brighton, but this feels more like an Everton loss than a Seagulls win (and Graham Potter won’t care one bit. A fine win).

Man of the Match: Either Dan Burn or Dale Stephens, and we’ll use the former’s hockey assist on the winner to nod to Burn.


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Brighton needed less than a quarter of an hour to take the lead, a needless Andre Gomes foul setting up Gross for a free kick.

The German midfielder drove his shot over the wall, and Jordan Pickford as slow to react. The goal looked great, but the keep will want it back.

Zonal marking did little for Brighton on a poorly-defended corner kick, and VAR upheld Richarlison’s near post header in the 20th minute as it went off Webster for an own goal.

Richarlison made a terrific move down the right to set up two players for a cutback, but flubbed his pass.

Gross had the ball in the goal off a Davy Propper cross, but was offside.

Calvert-Lewin put Everton back in front off an inch-perfect through ball from Mason Holgate, but VAR quickly gave Brighton a chance to level from the spot.

Michael Keane fouled Aaron Connolly, who left the match for Murray before the spot kick. Maupay slotted past Pickford for 2-2 in the 80th minute.

That wasn’t the end of it, as Burn played Leandro Trossard into the box and the Belgian’s cross was pushed behind an equal parts stranded and indecisive Pickford for an o.g.

Brighton teen Connolly glowing after brace in blowout of Spurs

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After a lifetime spent waiting for his first Premier League goal, 19-year-old Aaron Connolly grabbed his second about a half-hour later.

The milestone was always going to be remarkable for Brighton and Hove Albion’s young Irishman, but are all the more memorable coming in a 3-0 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday in front of his home fans at the Amex Stadium.

“I am not sure it has all sunk in,” Connolly said, via the BBC. “It’s a dream come through I love getting goals, I love being able to make my debut. It’s not really sunk in.”

[ RECAP: Brighton 3-0 Spurs ]

The Seagulls led 1-0 when Connolly collected the rebound from a clever shot and deposited it. His second goal buried woeful Spurs.

The Galway-born was on loan to Luton Town last season, but had otherwise spent every minute of his career at Brighton since signing from Mervue United as an adolescent in 2011.

Graham Potter is handing a lot of opportunity to Connolly, who is seizing it with both hands.

“He is playing me and trusting me,” Connolly said. “Straight away, when I came back I knew he was a manager I wanted to play under. His belief in me is great and I am so glad I can repay it.”